Beginners Guide: Chase Ultimate Rewards

Miles and Points are a valuable tool for free travel. While points and miles are great for free travel, their value lies premium class redemption which would cost 4-5 thousand dollars round trip. With the help of points and miles, you are able to experience true luxury, without the exorbitant cost. In this segment, I will be focusing on the 4 main transferable currencies and the various ways to use these points. Transferable currencies are the most valuable points in the travel game due to their flexibility and ability to always be worth at least one cent per point.

Chase points for short, Chase Ultimate Rewards is perhaps the most well known transferable currency program. These points can be earned through various chase cards including the Chase Freedom, Chase Freedom Unlimited, Chase Sapphire Preferred, and Chase Sapphire Reserve. Chase points can be transferred to numerous airline programs as a 1:1 ratio most notably United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, and Flying Blue(Air France). In order to transfer points, you must have either of the Chase Sapphire Cards or the Chase Business Ink Preferred. Having one these cards unlocks the full power of the Chase Ultimate Rewards Program.

How to Earn:

Chase Points can be earned through several Personal and Business Chase credit cards, most notably the Chase Sapphire and Freedom/Freedom Unlimited brands. Chase credit cards all have solid signup bonuses, and you can always earn extra points via their shopping portals. Be sure to check out cashback monitor to compare cash back rates. From my experience, Rakuten and Topcashback often have better cashback rates than Chase, so make sure to do your homework and compare.

Redeeming Chase Points:

Redeeming through Chase’s Travel Portal

Pros

  • Easy to Use
  • Fixed Redemption Value of 1.25 cents per point or 1.5 cents per point

Cons

  • Better Value

Value: B

Booking Through the Chase Travel Portal

Redeeming Chase points via the Chase Travel Portal allows you to get a fixed value of either 1.25 cents per point if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred/ Chase Ink Preferred, or 1.5 cents per point if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve. This is an easy way to redeem your Chase points and getting better value than 1 cents per point. Using the travel portal, you can book flights, hotels,experiences, and many more.

Transferring Points to Loyalty Programs

Pros:

  • Ability to get outstanding value for your Points
  • Over a dozen transfer partners with notable airlines in each “alliance”
  • Great redemption values for business class tickets
  • Some programs have instant transfers

Cons:

  • Requires more advance knowledge of rewards programs and understanding or award availability
  • desired travel dates might not have “saver award tickets”

Value: A+

Transferring Points in the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal

Chase transfer partners is where you can get outstanding value for your points, especially when redeeming business class tickets. For example, you can book a round trip business class ticket to Japan or Hong Kong for 150k Miles using saver awards. These fares are often upwards of four thousand dollars, netting you a value of over 2.5 cents per points. To transfer points, simply visit the Ultimate Rewards Portal, select transfer points, find the desired program and enter your corresponding loyalty ID and confirm.

Just a few Chase transfer partners

Tip: I would look and plan for a trip before making the transfer. Some airlines allow you to place award flights on hold for 24 hours or 48 hours if you give them a call. Virgin Atlantic is a well known airline that will hold an award flight for you for a short period of time. I wouldn’t transfer points speculatively, but I encourage you to take advantage of transfer partners to get the best value for your points.

For hotels, I would only transfer points if you are a bit short for a specific redemption. I think transferring Chase points to Marriott is a poor use, but there can be great value from Hyatt. Hyatt is a unique transfer partner of Chase and their loyalty program allows you to get 1-2 cents in value per point. If you are looking to transfer points for a hotel redemption, I would look into signing up for a new hotel co-branded credit card instead. Most card are offering 100k signup bonus.

Redeeming for Shopping or Gift Cards

Pros

  • NONE

Cons

  • Poor Value VERY POOR VALUE

GRADE: F

Redeeming your Chase points for shopping or gift cards is an extremely poor use of points. You can often purchase gift cards at a solid discount at Raise.com and double stack using either Topcashback or Rakuten to maximize your savings. Redeeming points to cover purchases or for a gift card is a cardinal sin in the Miles and Points Game.

Please don’t waste your hard earned points, when you can gain outstanding value for travel.

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